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Christians and Unforgiving Spirit

1. Bible Reading: Colossians 3:12-15

1) Paul, in writing to the church at Colossae, speaks concerning the character a Christian should have.

2) This character involves an understanding of our relationship with God–God’s holy elect.

3) This character involves an understanding of the type of heart we are to have–compassion, kindness, lowliness, meekness, long-suffering.

4) This character involves an understanding of the type of attitude we are to have toward one another’s faults–forgiving.

5) Just as Christ forgave us, so also should we forgive our brethren.

3. The subject of Christian forgiveness.

1) There is much misunderstanding regarding this subject.

2) Some say one should always forgive regardless of the attitude of the offender.

3) Some say that one should only forgive if asked for forgiveness.

4) What do we do about forgiving people who are not Christians?

5) What is God’s role in forgiveness.

6) We are going to try to answer some of these questions this morning.

4. Ref. to S, T, P, O, and A.

DISCUSSION: In this sermon on forgiveness we can see that there are three manifestations of Christian forgiveness within the scriptures.


1. Granted only by God’s authority.

1) Remember the man sick of the Palsy in Mark 2.

2) We read, “But there were certain of the scribes sitting there, and reasoning in their hearts, Why doth this man thus speak blasphemies? who can forgive sins but God only? And immediately when Jesus perceived in his spirit that they so reasoned within themselves, he said unto them, Why reason ye these things in your hearts? Whether is it easier to say to the sick of the palsy, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and take up thy bed, and walk? But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (he saith to the sick of the palsy,) I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy bed, and go thy way into thine house.” (Mark 2:6-11).

3) They were right that only God had the authority to forgive sins; they were wrong in thinking that Jesus was not God!

4) This authority is now in Christ. Matthew 20:18

2. Is accomplished through the blood of Christ.

1) Ephesians 1:7 “In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace.”

2) Matthew 26:28 “For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.”

3. Separates non-Christian from Christian.

1) Acts 2:38

2) 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.”

4. Is ongoing for Christians as they walk in the light. 1 John 1:7 “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.”

5. Is conditional upon repentance and confession.

1) 1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

2) Example of Simon Acts 8:22 “Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee.”

6. Conditional upon us forgiving others of their trespasses.

1) Matthew 6:14-15 “For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”

2) Notice Jesus comments in Luke 17:3-4 “Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him. And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him.”

3) In Matthew 18:21-22 Jesus repeats this teaching specifically to Peter and then uses the parable of the wicked servant to illustrate. Notice that in the story, the one in debt asks for forgiveness, but the wicked servant gives none. Asking for repentance is not necessarily excluded by Jesus direct comments to Peter.


1. The example of Jesus — Luke 23:34 “Father forgive them . . . .”

2. The example of Stephen — Acts 7:60 “Lord, lay not this sin to their charge.”

3. God’s attitude–2 Peter 3:9 “not willing that any should perish” We are children of God!

4. Not talking about forgiveness of sins, but an attitude of forgiveness.

1) Not holding something against another.

2) Acting in such a way so as to purge one’s self of negative/sinful thoughts regarding the other.

3) Practicing love toward all men. Jesus said, “Love they neighbor as thyself.” (Matt. 22:39) How can we do this if we hold something against them?

4) Emptying one’s heart of vengeful thoughts. Note the words of Paul in Romans 12:19-21


1. Sometimes we offend one another in mere matters of opinion.

1) Someone cuts you off in traffic.

2) Perhaps you have an accident.

2. We must stand ready to forgive in these matters.

3. Poor example of the Corinthians in 1 Corinthians 6:1-8


1. When thinking about this sermon on forgiveness let us remember . . .

1) Forgiveness of Sins

2) Forgiveness as an attitude

3) Forgiveness in matters of opinion.

2. It is so important to forgive.

1) In the day of judgment do we want to stand before God with anything less than forgiveness on our hearts?

2) In the day of judgment do we want to meet God holding a grudge against someone?

3) What if that person (not a Christian) later in life becomes one?

4) Will we stand before God with an unforgiving heart toward them?

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